The Fact about BSNL’s Rural Telephone Services in India

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BSNLs’ employees observe two days strike on 21st and 22nd of April, among the all other demands for Strike, one of their demands is that “Compensation for loss making Rural services”. So let’s have a look at  ?the proportion of BSNL’s Rural Connections in the overall Rural Telephone Subscriber base.


As per the TRAI’s press release Telecom Subscription Data as on 28th February, 2015, the overall Rural Telephone Subscribers are 408.55 million out of which Wireless Subscribers are 403.31 million and wireline Subscribers are 5.24 million. And, as per the COAI’s (Cellular Operators Association of India) Rural Subscriber Statistics for the month of February 2015, the combined rural subscriptions of Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel and Telewings are 330.34 million wireless connections. This means that all other operators including BSNL provide only 78.21 million wireless connections. As far as wireline is concerned the BSNL still maintains its dominance, so we can assume that the almost whole of the 5.24 million wireline connections are provided by BSNL.

From the above figures and facts we can come to a conclusion that, the above mentioned 5 operators provides more than 80% of the rural connections, whereas BSNL along with Reliance and TATA Teleservices provide less than 20%. It is worth to note that only mere 1.28% of 408.55 million rural users use wireline connection. Invariably ARPU from the rural services of all operators is less than the ARPU from Urban services.

Now a question arises, can all other operators also claim compensation for providing rural services?

It is the fact that, once upon a time only BSNL provided rural services, but now all the operators are started to provide rural Services. It is not out of their Social Interest or in the interest of development of rural India, but because it is where future growth lies. The urban Tele-density is already around 150 and the Rural Teledensity is only around 47. So, the operators clearly understood that it is an area which will going to provide good growth opportunity rather than the Urban Area.

Article authored by J.S.SOUNDARARAJAN

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An IT professional who has got great passion for telecom. Has been closely watching Indian telecom space since 2009.

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